Where Does the US Gets Its Oil?

By Editors

It's been said before but the response to the NPR story posted on RealClearEnergy this week indicates it's worth saying again. American does not get most of its oil from the Middle East. In fact, we only get 12 percent of our supplies from the Persian Gulf. And Saudi Arabia provides only 8 percent.

As the pie chart illustrates, almost 75 percent of our oil now comes from North and South America. Domestic sources provide 39.8 percent and Canada another 15.1 percent. With Mexico's 7.5 percent, this means more than 70 percent is coming from domestic sources or contiguous nations. Venezuela's 5.9 percent contribution is the only source in the western hemisphere that might be regarded as somewhat unreliable.

Among Persian Gulf sources, more than two-thirds comes from Saudi Arabia and the remainder from smaller countries on the Arabian Peninsula. Almost none comes from Iraq and Iran. In Africa more than half our imports come from Nigeria.

Some recent reports have suggested that the United States has become an "energy exporter," but that only applies to refined oil products. In terms of crude oil we are still producing barely more than one-third our raw supplies. And although our dependence on transoceanic sources has also declined, that does not mean we are insulated from world prices. The entire globe is essentially now one big oil market and increased demand from China and India can have an impact on domestic prices, as we are seeing now. And it is also worth remembering that it was only a 3% reduction in world oil output due to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that set off the second "Gas Shortage" of the 1970s.

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